Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Friday 10 March 2023

3 to 5 March 2023 - Ramsoc visits Cheddar

Our latest Ramsoc rentahostel weekend started last Friday, when seven of us met up for a stroll up Cleeve Hill from the car park next to Cleeve Hill Golf Club. The entire weekend was dry, cold and overcast, so the pictures are unremarkable. However, clicking on any one of them should provide access to a slide show and enable you to skip my tedious text.

On a warmer day we could have crowded onto a bench to admire the view over Cheltenham.

Near the summit is a tree that in our part of the world would be accompanied by other trees and called a 'Memorial Forest'. Anyway, many small plaques and lots of scattered ashes were witness to this being a favourite place for ashes to be scattered.

The summit ridge is quite lengthy, and wherever you stand doesn't look like the high point, but the top is certainly near if not at this trig point.

Pleasant woodland sheltered us from the cool breeze as we returned to base on a lower path bordering wintry woodland.

Here's our route - 14km with 250 metres ascent, taking 3.5 hours.

On then to Cheddar, where nearly 30 of us took over the Youth Hostel for the weekend. Many of us congregated in the excellent Riverside Inn for dinner.

Parkruns used to be the domain of me and Sue and maybe one or two others on these weekends, but the Saturday morning exercise has slowly gained more enthusiasts. This weekend eight of us wandered along to Sharpham Road Playing Fields parkrun, just a few minutes' walk from the hostel.

Here we are, congregating at the start - just 111 participants.

There were views up to Cheddar Gorge, where a bit later we would be seen on the horizon.

Tom turned up as photographer and has provided the next three pictures.

I took another photo at the finish. Our group is huddled to the far right, having finished a while ago.

Our results are shown below:

All good fun - you can see that Richard was in a class of his own and the rest of us finished in two slightly competitive groups...
[NB 'Age related' offers targets for those of us who are slower than they used to be due to old age; it's the world record for your age group as a percentage of your time.]

Back at the ranch we made up a walking group of 24 for a walk to Beacon Batch and back, starting from the hostel and heading up above Cheddar Gorge.

Soon we reached a Lookout Tower, which provides a view up the gorge and down to Cheddar. It took a while to get everyone up and down the narrow metal steps.

Click on the image to get a readable version

Higher up, there were good views across the gorge, and feral goats were munching the brambles and the gorse.

Sue tested a rather smart new bench after crossing the gorge road, whilst everyone continued along the path to Beacon Batch.

All 24 of us gathered on the summit and enjoyed lunch on the sheltered side of the mound.

Continuing, on the cold, heavily overcast day, we passed a relic in Shipham.

Soon afterwards, a couple of benches proved inadequate to house 24 people for afternoon tea (for those who hadn't already drained their flasks).

Across the road, the West Mendip Way took us up and over Winterhead Hill.

Snowdrops and daffodils lined the path.

Then we came upon a massive limestone quarry. After that we descended steeply to reach the disused railway line that we'd used earlier on the parkrun. So we knew our way through the streets of Cheddar to the youith hostel.

Here's our route - 19km with 550 metres ascent, taking us 6 hours.

After an evening in the hostel with chicken curry, salmon and veg, and beef stroganoff on the menu, as well as a selection of starters and desserts, there were around 20 of us who on Sunday morning drove the short distance to King's Wood, near Axbridge, for a short walk over Wavering Down and Crook Peak. 

A sign in the car park told us all about ash dieback regeneration hereabouts.

We soon made it to the top of Wavering Down.

Here's the view back to Cheddar, continuing the 'dull and overcast' theme.

Then down and up to Crook Peak, for elevenses in view of the M5 motorway, far below.

After that we strolled down Crook Peak's south east ridge to reach the Somerset Levels near Compton Bishop.

Returning to the car park through Cross, then finally through pleasant woodland, we passed what a local lady referred to as the 'Willy House'.

Lunch in the woodland brought the weekend to a conclusion after this 10km walk with 250 metres ascent, taking about 3 hours.

Sue and I returned via Julia's in Tewkesbury, and we got home in time to watch Keely Hodgkinson win the European 800 metres indoors title with ease.

Now then, someone was trying to recall the history of these Ramsoc events. I know I've missed a few and they started before I met Sue, but for what it's worth, here's a summary of my records. There are also New Year trips and 'GS' trips (and many more) that I've not attempted to document here. I know that Mark and Janet organised trips before Sue W took over, and I remember going to the Ladybower area when the hotel that is now derelict/demolished? was used together with B&Bs - perhaps that is when I recorded the 28/10/2000 'Ramsoc Ladybower' walk with very little further comment.

25 to 27 March 2022 - Kington (the Covid superspreading event)
March 2008 - Sue and Martin missed this due to being in New Zealand
19 to 21 March 2004 - Rentahostel at Kirkby Stephen (manual diary Vol 46)

8 and 9 March 2003 - Rentahostel at Clun Mill (plus a manual diary entry in Vol 42)

26/27 October 2002 - Ramsoc goes to Leyburn (plus a manual diary entry in Vol 42)

8 to 11 March 2002 - Rentahostel at Earby (Manual Diary Vol 39)
28 October 2000 - 'Ramsoc Ladybower' - a walk with 17 people

22 to 25 August 1997 - Melinda's Last Munro
2 and 3 August 1997 - Teesdale camping weekend (Manual diary Vol 31)

If anyone can provide additional information, or has any interesting recollections, I'm happy to include them here.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Monday = Isabella Day (42)

Slightly out of order on a busy week - a posting for last weekend will follow, but the pressure of various appointments, the (attempted) mastering of a new Samsung S23 phone, not to mention other gadgets, vetting TGO Challenge routes, etc, etc, have rather delayed the sorting of photos etc.

The picture above shows Isabella striding into the Science and Industry Museum, where there's lots of hands on stuff for youngsters.

Meanwhile, below, Jacob (11) is pictured with his mate Seb - they are members of the award winning Rossendale Under 13 relay running team. Well done lads, it looks like quite a big awards ceremony.

Back to the museum, and Isabella is working her way through the various exhibits. Luckily she thinks the item in the next picture is just a wheel to turn, not a gadget that requires money to be inserted to create a small medal. Next time perhaps.

She soon worked out that putting her hand over the air blower made the balls drop to the floor.

There were several exhibits involving colours - this one shows how new colours are created from mixing prime colours.

I think the magnets were a bit of a mystery to her.

Before we left, we admired this magnificent Rolls Royce.

The walk back to the station at Deansgate was punctuated by watching some workmen dismantle a temporary structure that looked as if it was made of railway sleepers.

We love the tram journeys.

Lunch was duly consumed. Every last bit.

Then after an hour's nap, Thomas had a starring role on the Timperley railway track.

There was lots of crashing and rescuing going on, then a short pirate video from an old CD that we found - the Thomas tapes failing due to the old age of either the tapes or the player.

Then it was time to go home. We look forward to your next visit, Isabella.